Credit: George M. Dawson, Library and Archives Canada, PA-044336

The Hudson’s Bay Company began mining in Fort Rupert on the northern tip of Vancouver Island after the Kwakawaka’wakw of the area brought an HBC clerk coal and explained that the material was precious to them and would not permit them to work the coal but would instead mine it themselves and sell it to them. The coal was considered the best in the British Empire and created further incentive to colonize Vancouver Island.